The Mansion Pilgrimage
When I lived at the Governor’s Mansion, (1992-1999), I recall that one of the harbingers of spring was having school children visit. The place came alive with thousands of kids from across the state, many of them 4th graders studying Missouri history.
Now my granddaughter, Harper, is a 4th grader. This week I had a chance to accompany her class on their visit to the Capital City. Actually, I met them at the Mansion on Thursday for what turned out to be a gorgeous day in mid-Missouri. What fun to see the wonderful old home again and to share with Harper some of the stories from the time I lived there as First Lady.
Swapping Stories; Recalling Memories
The Missouri Children’s Fountain is the starting point for the tour. It features children associated with the Mansion and conveys a timeless message about education, health care and the environment. I was pleased to see the portraits of the first ladies, that have been added since I lived there. And to recall our wonderful pet, Beaumont, a Newfoundland, who is buried on the lower lawn next to the rock wall with a plaque in his memory.
Best of all, it was great to see the Mansion’s massive walnut doors swing open, extending a warm hospitality to the many guests who frequent the executive home. Former first lady and one of the Mansion’s most gracious hostesses Mrs. Forrest Donnell (1941-1945) said, “I tell my guests to hang up their politics when they hang up their hat.” It’s a fine tradition and one that’s been honored over the years.
While the students and their chaperons spent the night in Jefferson City, Tom and I headed back to St. Louis. But not before a stop at Central Dairy ice cream bar. It was packed, so we sat on the sidewalk benches and visited with friends and passersby, including a friendly bulldog, whose favorite flavor was vanilla. Happy Days!